All We Need To Know About Veganism!

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By Ruchi Sharma
 
We all have become super-conscious of what we eat. It’s really important to make diet plans in line with health requirements, especially in today’s world. One thing that’s gaining a lot of popularity is VEGANISM! You might find lots of buzz and articles around the same and how many celebrities or famous personalities are turning Vegan. But what one needs to understand is what actually is Veganism and how it impacts the health. Vegan diet is basically a plant-based diet where no products from animals are included. All products of animal origin are strictly avoided. Vegan diet includes- fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, lentils, beans, dairy alternatives like soy milk, coconut milk etc. Vegan diet does not include- fish, chicken, pork, lamb, eggs, butter, milk cream, honey and any other similar animal by- product. Here in this blog, we got some good substitutes which you can incorporate in your daily diet if you plan on turning Vegan or are already Vegan.
 

Difference between being Vegetarian and being Vegan

 
So firstly, let’s get on with the difference between being Vegetarian and being Vegan. Yes, these are two different terms. One may often confuse that it’s the same but they are non-similar. Both choose not to eat meat but still they are different. A vegetarian diet broadly comprises of mostly all foods except poultry, meat, fish or any other by-product that involves animal slaughter. But Vegan diet goes one step ahead since it involves avoiding all animal and animal derived products also. All animal derived products like milk or any other dairy product, gelatin, honey etc. are not included in a Vegan diet.
 

Why Veganism?

 
Veganism is often associated with animal rights. People who turn to Vegan diets also avoid purchasing any animal based non-food products too. They even prefer cruelty free beauty products.
But apart from the environmental and ethical impact, another reason to turn vegan is health.
 

Health Benefits on turning Vegan

Many studies reveal that there are certain health benefits associated with a Vegan diet. Some of these likely health benefits include-
Lower Cholesterol
Reducing weight
Lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
Less likely to get certain types of Cancer
Vegan Food is also rich in Antioxidants
 

Some health impact to take care of

Due to limited protein options to choose from, one may face a protein deficiency while being on a Vegan diet. Insufficient intake of Calcium, Omega 3 fatty acids, iron etc. are also one of the issues with a strict vegan regime. That’s why paying special attention to nutritional balance is equally important. One may need to consider taking nutritional supplements after consulting a proper nutritionist to avoid such deficiency and avoid health problems in the long run.
 

Good Substitutes

Vegans have got loads of options to choose from where they can replace meat and dairy products with plant based alternatives. Here’s a list of vegan ingredients that you can use to substitute your regular pantry.
 
1. Dairy Alternative
The biggest issue is finding substitute for milk! We all can’t imagine starting off our day without a good cup of coffee or tea. But don’t worry, there are many substitutes for regular milk and they are just as good. You can use Soy milk, Almond milk, Oats Milk or even Coconut milk as a dairy alternative.
 
2. Meat Substitute
Crazy about chicken? There are a lot of vegan meat substitutes now available in the market which are even gaining popularity as mock meats (egs. Seitan)! But since they are not that readily available in market, you can try out good old jackfruit! Its meaty texture is perfect for serving a variety of versatile meats depending on how one prepares it.
 
3. Aquafaba
Now don’t get carried away by the strange name. It actually is just water from a can of chickpeas! But wait don’t undermine its importance. This is an excellent replacement for egg whites. If you are a full-on baker, making meringues, mousse, brownies, cakes all the time, then this is a must for you.
 
4. Tofu
This one is an excellent source of protein. It’s made from Soy Milk and is thus fully Vegan. It’s a great substitute for Paneer or Cottage Cheese. You can make Tofu at home too, we got you the method in the next section.
 
5. Seitan
It’s a vital wheat gluten made from wheat protein. Its again a substitute for meat. A washed flour seitan can be made at home as well; the steps are given in the next section.
 
6. Agar Agar
If you are fond of making jellies and are worried to find replacement for good old gelatin, then this plant based product Agar Agar is the perfect answer for you! Apart from the above there are many other alternatives available for cooking Vegan food as well. Also, vegan butter, vegan cream cheese and many similar vegan processed foods are now available at many supermarkets!
 

Making Vegan Substitute and a Recipe!

Tofu

You can make good old Tofu at home, you will require:
Dry Soybeans
Filtered Water
Lemon Juice
Muslin cloth
 
Soak the Soybeans overnight, next day you will find that they have grown 2-3 times their size. Add them into the blender till they turn a little coarse. Now add water gradually & churn till you get a creamy texture. Use a sieve to remove any lumps. Your Soy Milk is ready. Now just like you make regular paneer at home, bring the soy milk to boil over medium heat, as soon as milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice and remove from heat. Stir it a few times and set it aside. The curdling will begin. Transfer it to a muslin cloth and squeeze out the excess liquid, you can use a hard object too for getting excess liquid out. Your Tofu is ready.
 

Washed Flour Seitan or Mock Meat

Though you will require a little patience with this one but the overall method is really easy. You will require:
Whole wheat Flour
Lots of Water
 
Make a dough from the flour. Put it in a bowl of water then wash it thoroughly after letting it sit for some time. Drain the water off the dough ball. Change the water and repeat the process. You will need to repeat the process atleast 3-4 times till you get a chewing gum like texture of the dough and the water also becomes almost clear. Your mock meat is ready.
 
Making vegan food is not difficult at all even if you are a beginner! There is a huge variety to choose from, be it pizza, tacos, breakfast, one-pot meals, curries, burgers or even desserts! But today’s recipe is using your very own home made Tofu. You can even replace it with home-made Seitan that you made. So, here’s presenting Sticky Chilli Tofu!
 
Image credit: kararakitchen
 
Ingredients
200 Grams Tofu
1 tablespoon of chilli sauce
1/3 rd  cup soy sauce
1/4 th  cup maple syrup
1/4 th  cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
½ tsp ginger powder
1/4 th cup water
Sesame seeds
 
Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 450 Degrees F.
2. Grease a baking pan or line it with a baking sheet.
3. Cut the tofu into cubes and place them into a large bowl. Marinate it with chilli sauce and sprinkle some corn starch over it.
4. Arrange them on baking tray. Bake them for 10 minutes.
5. Take a saucepan and put in on the stove.
6. Whisk the soy sauce, sweetener, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger in a saucepan.
7. Bring to a boil.
8. In a bowl, make corn starch water slurry.
9. Slowly add this into the saucepan as soon as it boils.
10. Cook until the mixture thickness.
11. Pour sauce over the baked tofu and sprinkle the sesame seeds.
 
Your sticky chilli Tofu is ready!
We hope you enjoyed this awesome ‘Getting to Know about Veganism’ journey with us. We hope this information about the substitutes and how to make them brings a smile on your face. Do let us know what did you like the most in this blog. Also, don’t forget to tag us at #girlsbuzzindia on Instagram when you pose with that lovely sticky chili tofu!
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